My Bantam Lake

Eastern Chipmunk

Written on 06/27/2018


Tamias striatus

Eastern chipmunks inhabit wooded areas, river valleys and are interspersed in habitats distant from deciduous forests. This ground dwelling mammal inhabits open deciduous forests where cover is readily available in the form of stumps, logs or rocky outcrops. Their prime habitat is mature beech-maple forests, but they will occupy bushy areas and coniferous forests, however, swampy sites are avoided. Eastern chipmunks are small rodents with grayish to reddish brown fur and a distinguishing yellowish to reddish patch on their rumps. Their pelage color and pattern varies by geography. Their underparts are white. Their sides and back have five dark stripes; the longest stripe occurs along their midline. Between their dark lateral stripes, there is a narrow white band. Light and dark stripes occur on their face around their eyes. Their tail is hairy, but not bushy and is somewhat flattened. Eastern chipmunks are diurnal and most active during mid-morning and mid-afternoon. They are solitary and territorial, especially close to their burrow. Foraging occurs mostly along the ground, but eastern chipmunks are proficient climbers. Eastern chipmunks cache food but do not have the fat stores to hibernate. Caches are marked with an olfactory cue to aid in relocation.Eastern chipmunks are extremely vocal and produce a variety of chips, trills and calls to alert others to the presence of predators or for territory defense. Territorial calls lead to aggressive behavior when another individual is present. High intense chases establish hierarchies among groups of males competing for access to females, individuals display aggressive and submissive postures during these behaviors. Dietary staples include fruit, seeds and nuts. This is supplemented with insectsinsects, earthworms, slugsslbugs, bird'sbird’s eggs and mushrooms. Food is transported within cheek pouches located on either side of the mouth.

 

Source: Tamias striatus Eastern Chipmunk, Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology